On Tuesday morning at 8 o’clock, Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Farmers’ Market is just waking up. A slightly warped table is stacked high and wide with early July peaches. The fruit hints at ripeness, all fuzzy and pinky-yellow, but they know and I know they are not yet ready for prime time pie-ing.. These are stubborn peaches, clearly ripening on their own schedule, refusing to yield beneath my cautious thumb and index finger. “Quit pinching!” the stone fruit scolds. I move along. Looking back I let the peaches know, “I wasn’t pinching! I was just checking to see if you were ready, and clearly you’re not. Sorry to have disturbed you.”
I have high hopes for a quart of peaches waiting for me at home. Left alone to ripen in my absence, lately I've been fixated on grilled peaches sandwiched between baking powder biscuits. Fueled in part by a partial container of heavy cream “going begging” (to quote my grandmother, Minnie) I turn to James Beard’s recipe in The Fireside Cook Book. The recipe yields 7 biscuits, just enough, not too many. My knuckles shudder as I unearth the box grater from the kitchen cabinet. Flakes of frozen butter tossed with flour, baking powder, a little salt, and cold milk is all that is required. (Beard also has a wonderful biscuit recipe that relies on heavy cream, but the heavy cream is already spoken for.) I had envisioned grilled peaches boasting perfectly aligned grill marks, but the torrential downpour has squashed my grill dreams. There is no room for weather optimism; my phone incessantly beeps, reminding me of a flood watch in my vicinity. I crank up the oven to 450 degrees and make room on my stovetop for a cast iron skillet. The peaches flinch ever so slightly beneath my fingers. Unlike their peach relations in Philly, these peaches mean shortcake business.
Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm